Stupidity: ‘Behaviour that shows a lack of good sense or judgement’ – OED
‘Stupidity is a talent for misconception’ ~ Edgar Allan Poe
Today, as I began to absorb the day’s ‘agenda setting’ diet (though only Sky News actually admits this – even boasts about it) from the smörgås board of global and domestic affairs and ingested some of the polarised views on social media, I lurched, in my head, from explosive reactionary to numbing despondency, back and forth, back and forth, my mind on the whole but my thoughts on shuffle. My sense of doom and gloom at the utter scale of political stupidity was overwhelming. I don’t know why today, particularly because the standard of news, debate and analysis was no worse than yesterday’s or the day’s before. Nor is this the first time it’s happened. It’s just that usually I recognise stupidity overwhelm quite quickly and either channel it or tell myself I need to step away. Today I felt that I couldn’t do either. I felt like a coiled spring, frozen. I told Twitter and Jill Segger (@quakerpen), a writer whose own wonderful writings always portray her soul’s beauty, told me: ‘Write about the stupidity. Write about how it affects you. Just write!’ (How I have missed the assistance of a brief!)
On the stupidity of our political climate:
Cause and effect has lost its place in socio-economic terms, straying into the realms of subjective philosophical selective relativism. Symptoms are now mis-identified as causes; bugs are perceived as features; stereotypes are taken as read. This makes for superficial political solutions that not only insult wide demographics and disingenuously create others but then openly scapegoat them for seeming populist but reckless purpose. This divides and demeans everyone. This is serving only the most insidiously toxic agenda of neoconservative expedience. This is a progress not worth having that relies on such indecent destruction of Humanity and its social fabrics. It is short-sighted, regressive, unnecessary and decidedly wicked. This is not progress at all. It is certainly not ‘recovery’.
Pick a topic of political, socio-economic issue. Any topic you like: Education, Health and Social Care, Welfare, Law and Order, Energy, Sovereignty, Liberty, Environment, Conflict and Terrorism, Democracy, Art, Religion, etc, etc and tell me: how is it not connected to all the others? What meaningful solutions can be offered that work by isolating it? How does looking only across its surface provide a deeper understanding? How does selecting out one tiny aspect of it and nominating that as the main cause, even the very root of an ill, inform appropriate policy? How does focussing intently on one aspect of a larger dilemma justify a blanket policy of punishment or reward?
How do I feel about the stupidity? I feel that it will slowly and surely reduce us all to husks and dust and that, although many will tediously look back at these years and wonder what happened, as though it were a sudden, unpreventable, unpredictable catastrophic event, it will still be all our own collective fault if we let the prevailing groupthink continue. Because we did not appreciate the interconnectedness of things. Because we couldn’t apply with integrity what we already knew, let alone what we newly learned. Because we had so little regard for the beauty and majesty of Life. Because we didn’t respect paradox or appreciate unity. Because we thought simplicity and complexity and the macro and micro where either/ors that couldn’t be reconciled when, in fact, it is imperative that they are married.
How do I feel about the stupidity? That this, too, shall pass. Eventually. So I feel despair, rage, doubt, bemusement, intolerance, contempt, pity, incredulity, bored, exhausted, alert, pumped-up, apprehensive, impatient, compassion, suspicious, empathy, enthusiastic, ambivalent, hopeful, vulnerable, bossy, sheepish, impotent, frightened, brave, capable, powerful. And more. Pick any sensation and, a bit like an electron, I’m there! And also probably not, for nothing lasts but nothing is lost.